I have been to this pub three times and the staff have managed to outdo themselves in providing a worse experience each time.
The first time, I went with a friend for a drink. From the outside it looked interesting although even the experience of entering was made harder than necessary by the surly bouncer at the door.
There was nothing particularly wrong the first time other than we waited ages at the bar for service, and then the bar staff got the order wrong and refused to change it. Not great service, we thought, but sometimes that happens and maybe it was a one off.
The second time I went with my girlfriend and her friend and decided to order food. The waitress was nice enough taking the order, although she seemed quite new. The menu is standard gastro-pub fare but given the prices on the menu you would be expecting reasonable quality.
The roast which our friend ordered was poorly prepared, even the relatively straightforward potatoes and vegetables were overdone and lukewarm. The burger I ordered was no better, gristly which didn't indicate great ingredients and the fries were cold. Clearly they had been standing there for some time. Although the waitress listened to our feedback, she said there wasn't much she could do, and to be fair it was unlikely to have been her fault.
The third visit, the Northcote really surpassed even its groundbreaking standards of customer service. I was there for a drink with a friend and my girlfriend again. Whilst I was queuing for a drink my friend was seeing if he could find some seats for us. One of the bouncers then approached him with the remarkable line "management would like you to leave". When asked for an explanation, he was hauled outside where the same line was repeated. He was told he could "write a letter to management" if he wanted but not speak to anyone. Let's not kid ourselves what "management" would do with such a letter.
It is hard to imagine what could have justified this shocking treatment of a customer who was not bothering anyone. Apart from ethnicity, there was nothing obvious to distinguish him from the other clientele, so it is hard to see why he was singled out.
What is clear however is that management enjoy playing God with their customers and care little about what this means for their reputation.
The pub looks interesting enough on the outside, but under the veneer it has an unpleasant side and is poorly managed. Businesses that don't value their customers generally fail and on that score this one certainly deserves to.
Fortunately there are some pretty decent alternatives on the Northcote road, such as the Bank for drinks and a decent vibe or the Bolingbroke for excellent gastro food to name just two, so you won't have to look far.